In December of 2008 Brian Hartenstein and family left America for an adventurous life overseas to live and work throughout Asia, raising three daughters with a sense of wonder and awe at the possibility of the world. It is now 2016 and the adventure continues back home in Oregon. This blog remains as a time capsule to that period. Thank you so much to all our friends around the world. Please stay in touch. We miss you all!
Friday, February 14, 2014
The Island of Misfit Toys
Across the street from my apartment in Taiwan there is a Stage Shop with a varied display of certain, shall we say, pleasurable appliances. Remote controled. Battery operated. Preposterously phallic. With an equal proportion of spermicides presented in a jaunty window array of idyllic flavors and spectral shades. Adjacent on either side of said, "Store O' Sin," is an open doored temple complete with golden, multi-armed, smiling deity, available to rent for stereo thumping ghost music funeral processions and a maternity boutique, with hanging closets of polyester stretch pants and large advertisements of beatific mothers in Winnie the Pooh and Angry Bird pajamas grinning breathlessly upon row after gleaming row of motorized breast-pumps the size of turkey-basters. I pass these three shops on my way home and every day have the same thought. Asia, what the hell is wrong with you?
Yes, I am back in Asia...the place where bad ideas go to die.
Men's toupees and prosthetic rubber hand pharmacies, moths ball packages and SPAM gift sets, the latest in lady's nylons for high-heeled hiking. Shoe horns and men's girdles and balls caps with battery operated hood fans, motion sensor bidets and monogrammed sleep masks, PLAYBOY pencil cases and seaweed shrimp potato chips, fried pig's blood and eel entrails for lunch washed down with a carton of yam flavored soymilk.
I recall vividly once in a pick-up hoops game with some sport execs years ago about the calamitous manufacturing of five thousand t-shirts misprinted for the 1998 Super Bowl entitled: Atlanta Falcons Champs! (They, of course, lost that game to Denver) "No worries," replied the exec as he coolly sank the free throw, "We'll just sell them to Asia."
While among the living, did you ever think these two doppelgangers would find themselves on handbags?
Or that California would ever look so enticing...?
Or that a man in a girdle could also be the man of your dreams?
That there really can be a 'chip off the old block'?
That Easy Riders would be that ...easy?
That love always comes in pink frilly skirts and balloons in the park.
That the most expressive thing you own...is a scooter helmet?
That you, of all people, are being wept for?
Welcome back to Asia, Hartenstein. We've missed you!